Hey, I finished up the series. You can read all of the posts here.
I put together a Google spreadsheet of the overall results, which is here. I used Master of Malt for pricing, since they have everything. The prices there are higher than you’d pay if you find these in the US, but I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time fishing around in multiple sites and trying to figure out how to compare prices between them. I have better things to do with my time, like sorting my Magic: the Gathering cards.
Some interesting conclusions:
There’s not much correlation between price and my preference. The most expensive bourbon, the Wild Turkey from the 70s, is $355/bottle at Master of Malt, and came in in 11th place overall. My favorite, the Blanton’s Gold Edition, is just $70/bottle. My second favorite, the Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7, is $60/bottle, while the other Smooth Ambler entries (the Contradiction and the Old Scout 9 etc etc etc) were $78 and $88 respectively.
I’ll definitely buy Blanton’s Gold or the Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 if I see them, but for an everyday bourbon, the Bulleit Bourbon looks like a good choice. It finished in 5th place and is just $29/bottle.
There’s kind of a lot of variation from some distilleries/brands. Blanton’s two entries finished in 1st and 3rd place, but Smooth Ambler’s three entries were in 2nd, 17th and 24th place. And that 24th place finish would have been lower if there were more entries, because I really, really disliked the Contradiction. Jefferson’s had two entries, finishing in 8th and 15th place, and the three entries from Four Roses clustered in the middle, in 9th, 10th and 16th place. Evan Williams captured both 7th and 15th place.
Overall, I tended to like bourbons that had distinctive flavor but not bitterness; pretty much all of the entries where I called out bitter components, particularly bitter aftertaste, wound up lower. I think I used the word “smooth” at least 50 times, and “mouthfeel” at least 15. I feel like a not particularly imaginative hipster.
I really liked doing this, and I’d like to do it again next year. Anyone interested in playing along? It looks like it’ll be about $225 including shipping. Here’s the info for the 2015 calendar.